SRPMIC Seniors Host 2024 Chair Volleyball Tournament

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On Friday, April 26, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community seniors held their annual Senior Chair Volleyball Tournament inside the Community Building. The two-day tournament welcomed teams from Arizona, Nevada and California.

The following teams competed in this year’s tournament: Salt River S’gvek, Once Wild, Salt River Elite, Quail B, Puy Puyum, Nyaa Thosh, Muu Waav, Soboba II, Pala I, Pala II, Salt River Ser-iv-ers, Jackrabbits, Road Runners, Walking Stick Lehi, Mo-Chem-Ho-Na, Native Chaos, Salt River Steppers, Thunder N Lightning, Gila River O’odham, Ft. McDowell Firebirds, Soboba I and Tribal Roots.

Arriving via a charter bus with their tribal seal and name painted on the side was the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians from San Jacinto, a city near Riverside in Southern California.

During the official welcome, SRPMIC President Martin Harvier greeted the athletes and staff as breakfast and beverages were served.

“I’d just like to wish you all a good tournament. Have a good time. Don’t get mad at your teammates,” said President Harvier jokingly. He then mentioned how the senior athletes are role models for the Community’s youth. “Unfortunately for the O’odham people, they say we have the highest rate of diabetes in the world. That’s nothing to brag about. For our youth to see you all still being active, I think that is truly something important,” he said.

Additionally, during the breakfast hour, the chair volleyball athletes had fun taking group photos at the SRPMIC Recreation Department photo booth inside the Community Building.

The inside of the Community Building was transformed with all six of the tournament’s courts set up. After completing their stretches, teams participated in pool play and bracket play to further get themselves focused. To celebrate the annual tournament’s two days of fun, Nyaa Thosh debuted their brand-new chair volleyball jerseys and matching shorts, which feature blue and red diamonds.

While teams competed and gave it their all, vendor booths selling jewelry, clothing and more filled out the inside of the Community Building. The first day of tournament play finished on Friday afternoon. Play continued the following morning, when a champion would be crowned.

When it was all said and done, it was Team Pala I from California’s Pala Band of Mission Indians who won the 2024 SRPMIC Senior Chair Volleyball Tournament. On this year’s first place-team were athletes Richard Lavato, Janet Long, John Morones, John Machado, Veronica Orozco, Darlene Vega and Norma Barela.

Though they tried their hardest, the Jackrabbits from the Gila River Indian Community ultimately finished second, just barely coming up short against Pala I. On this year’s Jackrabbits team were Lynelle Blackwater, Laura Eddie, Cynthia Ross, Gina Beavers, Gene Coppedge, Alan Blackwater, Cheryl Coppedge, Pearl Antone and Vernon Antone.

Finishing in third was Tribal Roots from the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe. Their team members were Isadora Evanston, Agatha Tsosie, Charlotte Knots, Carol Parra, Paul Garcia, Reynold Pratt, Levi Evanston and Darryl Mills.

The Community’s annual chair volleyball tournament continues to gain momentum as it grows every year. The fun-filled event featured some of the best chair volleyball athletes in Indian Country and brought smiles to everyone’s faces, even if they didn’t bring home a first-place trophy.

Video by OAN News Reporter Juan Ysaguirre.

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